Saturday, July 7, 2012

to what end?

What happens when the closets are empty -- when all the shirts and skirts and suits and shoes and furniture of the past are, as if by magic, sent out ... when, standing on the downstairs landing, a single tentative hoot echoes somewhere in an equally empty upstairs hall? It is as if 'nothing' had descended and yet it is not exactly nothing ... so what is it? Where there is nothing to fill the emptiness, what is it that fills the emptiness?

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The well-regarded Colombian writer and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 85, is said to have stopped writing altogether. His brother says Marquez is suffering from dementia, a slow slide into a world of empty closets. "He has problems with his memory. Sometimes I cry because I feel like I'm losing him," his brother said.

Isn't this a realm that anyone might acknowledge in soft, but insistent, whispers? What if I told a joke but no one laughed? What if I offered a thought, but there were no ears to hear it? What if I loved and no one knew? What if my entire persona simply slipped off the grid like water droplets off a new-washed glass? What if the closets were empty?

It is so frightening and yet what if I were afraid and there were nothing to be afraid of?

Today, another hot one in the making, I will not go down to the Saturday peace picket line on Main Street. It will be the second week in a row that I have not gone after so many years of going. Last week, I replaced that one-hour Saturday segment of time with writing something I wanted to write. This week ... well, this week the time to arrive on the line has crept up on me unnoticed. It is almost 11 a.m. and I am still pecking away. I would be unacceptably late if I were to go now and, in addition, the heat flexes its muscles in imposing fashion. Perhaps I will never go again.

The closets empty out all by themselves. I have worked hard to fill them in the past and know the feeling of wanting to keep them well-stocked and social. But to what end, such energy? This question is not an invitation to a brooding glumness. I am just curious: To what end? 

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